Writing a resume can be a lot of work. Not only do you have to condense the entirety of your career and knowledge into just one page of paper — you have to customize it for the position and company you’re applying to, proofread it and revise it until it’s perfect (your resume is, after all, the most important document of your job search). All of this can add up to a significant amount of time, and seriously slow down your job search.
While there are no shortcuts to a great resume, there are a few pieces of “common knowledge” based largely on outdated truths or misconceptions that you can throw out the window, thus saving yourself valuable time. Thankfully, Glassdoor & Grammarly’s Ultimate Guide to Resumes is here to help you work smarter, not harder. If you want a stellar resume, but don’t want to waste time with unnecessary tweaks, read on.
Bad Tip #1: Include an Objective Statement
You might have been told early on in your career that all resumes should contain an objective statement: a brief sentence that explains what your goal is (such as “To secure a marketing internship”). But over the years, objective statements have largely fallen out of favor. Why? Well, for one, they’re pretty redundant. If you’re submitting an application for a marketing intern position, of course your goal would be to secure a marketing internship — stating that on your resume is just a waste of space.
But for another reason, objective statements are very self-serving. When skimming through resumes, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for what they want, not what you want. That’s not to say they don’t care at all about what candidates are looking for — this will be top-of-mind once they’re ready to extend an offer — but before they can begin to think about meeting your wants and needs, they need to first determine that you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed in the role.
Instead of an objective, include a professional summary: “a brief, one- to three-sentence section featured prominently on your resume that succinctly describes who you are, what you do and why you’re perfect for the job,” the guide recommends. For a particularly compelling professional summary, avoid generic descriptors like “hard-working” and “self-motivated,” and cite concrete metrics that demonstrate your impact. If you’ve worked for a particularly impressive company, you might also want to name-drop them.
In the end, your professional summary might look something like this: “ROI-driven marketing professional who is equal parts creative and analytical. Experienced in Marketo, Google Analytics and driving 27 percent year-over-year traffic growth.”
Bad Tip #2: Make Your Resume a Work of Modern Art
You might have seen some resume templates on Etsy or Pinterest that look like they could hang on the walls of a museum, but unless you’re applying to a design position, they probably won’t get you very far. In general, recruiters and hiring managers care far more about substance than flash. After all, it’s the content of your resume that’s going to demonstrate whether or not you’re the right fit for the role, not the design.
The visual aspect of your resume isn’t completely unimportant, though. While you don’t want to go overboard with creating a complex design, you do want to make sure that your resume is clean and easy-to-read. A few tips:
- Choose a simple font
- Add sufficient space in the margins and in between your different sections
- Avoid cramming too much information into one space
- If you want to add a touch of creative flair, incorporate some color into the theme — avoid anything too visually busy like patterns or images
Need some inspiration? Check out these free templates.
Bad Tip #3. Pad Your Resume With Unnecessary Extras
If you’ve ever come up short when writing an essay with a strict word count, you know how tempting it can be to fill it out with fluff — suddenly, phrases like “My name is Emily” become “The given name that my mother and father chose to bestow upon me as an infant was Emily.”
Some people feel tempted to do the same in their resumes. But rather than dragging out sentences for as long as possible, they add unnecessary, unimpressive or exaggerated skills and experiences.
“Only include the skills that truly make an impact — not ones that are basic requirements (Microsoft Word, email) or irrelevant to the job you’re applying to,” Glassdoor’s guide recommends. Similarly, don’t feel like you have to include every job you’ve ever held in your work experiences section, especially if you’ve had a particularly long and illustrious career, or if you’ve switched industries entirely. Instead, narrow in on the requirements that are specifically called out in the job description.
Remember: Recruiters only spend about six to seven seconds reading resumes, so by trimming the fat, you’ll make sure they see only the most important content, making you that much more likely to move onto the next round.